4S STAY Awa Ikeda is surrounded by a dynamic landscape of beautiful valleys and ridges. The area is known for the air of nature that it provides. Standing at 1955 meters, Mt. Tsurugi is among Japan’s 100 most beautiful mountains, and is the second highest in western Japan. For centuries, it has attracted mountain worship and been considered as a sacred mountain.
This mountain might not appear to be beginner-friendly at first sight, but it is accessible via ropeway, and it is very easy for men and women of all ages to climb and enjoy this mountain. The mountain is bustling with many tourists every day, and the fresh air at the top is something very special after a climb!
Another charm of nature in the area is the majestic Yoshino River, sometimes called “Shikoku Saburo” in respect of its masculine dynamism. A large quantity of water runs down this river, which used to act as a hub for distribution and transport. This is why port cities prospered along its banks.
Yoshino River is notorious for having caused floods. The section called “Koboke” is said to have the most rapid and raging torrent of all the rivers in Japan, and you can definitely have an exciting rafting session there. This is one of the must-dos in Shikoku.
Spring: fresh breeze filling the air
At the end of April, Mt. Tsurugi holds a ceremony called “Oyamabiraki,” a festival to celebrate the end of a long winter and new green leaves. The rituals have not changed since the old days, and Shinto rituals such as mochinage are performed. The ceremony marks the beginning of the climbing season, and the mountain attracts many climbers every year.
There are several mountain trails, each with a different, but all refreshing, view over primeval forests and alpine plants. You definitely do not want to miss the view from “Heikenobaba” near the top! In early spring, there will still be some snow, and the chill will make the climb a little easier.
Even before Oyamabiraki, the ropeway and restaurants are open from around the beginning of April. Why not feel the advent of spring on a sacred Japanese mountain?
Summer: forget the intense heat in the splashy river
“Oboke Koboke Kyo” is a valley located in the middle basin of Yoshino River, not far from 4S STAY Awa Ikeda. It is said to have one of the most rapid and raging torrents of all the rivers in Japan. Every summer, many tourists visit this place to enjoy rafting, kayaking, and other outdoor sports.
Yoshino River has raging torrents, beautiful scenery, and transparent water, and is said to be one of the best places to enjoy rafting and kayaking in the world. In 2017, it became the first Japanese river to host the World Rafting Championship. The waves reach as high as 3 meters, and there are sudden drops of 2 meters, and all this makes the experience even more dynamic and thrilling. There are tours and visitors can rent a raft, so beginners can also try out the sport.
Mt. Tsurugi marks the arrival of summer by hosting its summer festival “Tsugusanjinjahongutaisai” on the first Sunday after July 17th. The festival is fairly large and is participated by many locals! You will get to see a parade that carries a portable shrine through mountain paths and fields.
This will be the peak season for climbing, and you will find splendid flowers of various alpine plants along the trails. How about bringing an illustrated reference book to look for endemic species and enjoy Shikoku’s relaxing summer?
Autumn: ablaze with autumnal colors
In Autumn, all of the surrounding mountains turn yellow and red simultaneously. This is the most beautiful season. Spending time in comfortable temperatures will make the air feel even fresher and give you an opportunity to kick back and relax.
In particular, the autumn view from “Iyanokazurabashi” is truly splendid. Iyanokazurabashi is considered to be one of Japan’s three strangest bridges. It is 45 meters long, 2 meters wide, and about 14 meters above the water. The structure is traditionally-built, so visiting this place will make you feel like you took a time machine back to Japan’s old days.
The sky vastly changes its colors throughout the day, and the lake reflects blazing autumn leaves. This is an ideal setting for enjoying Awa Ikeda’s various local foods in Japan’s best season for foodies. Around September, the arrival of autumn sweetfish going downstream mark the beginning of the new season with a special taste that is quite different from the taste of summer sweetfish.
Winter: relaxing in the virgin landscape of Japan
At 4S STAY, you can enjoy winter as much as all other seasons.
Oboke Sightseeing Boat Company offers a special tour service “” every year from December to February. You can keep warm and stay comfortable in a kotatsu installed in the boat and luxuriously enjoy the valley view.
If it snows, the view takes on a very mysterious appearance. Winter is the best season to enjoy Japan’s virgin landscape!